“We really just wanted to improve our customer service,” said Jillian Diepersloot, special projects coordinator for the Kingsburg, Calif.-based grower-shipper. “With the amount of growers we have, 13 and more coming, plus two facilities on the same driveway, when you get to July and have all that fruit coming in, space starts to get a little tight.”
The expansion adds 11 new docks plus more cold storage and staging areas and a new shipping office for check-ins. At least one dock will be an express lane for one- to two-pallet orders, transfers or airport loads. There are also additions to the staff.
The expansion allows the company to store about 150,000 more cases of fruit.
Kingsburg Orchards, which previously tracked orders by hand on whiteboards, switched to a RedLine Solutions Inc. inventory management system using barcode scanners.
“One of the biggest feedbacks we got from customers was about wait times,” Diepersloot said.
Another factor driving the expansion is the expected return of Jake Diepersloot, grandson of owner George Jackson, to Kingsburg this summer following graduation from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Diepersloot, who farmed a rented 20-acre property during summers through his school years, has purchased a ranch in the river district.
“We’ll need storage space for that,” Jillian Diepersloot said.
The company’s also preparing for other family members to grow for it over time.
The expanded facility is powered by solar energy.